2016 Arts Midwest Showcase

Milwaukee, WI September 13-16

Chicago Showcase: Tuesday, September 13 and Wednesday, September 14

With generous support from DCASE, Audience Architects is excited to continue our capacity building efforts for the Chicago dance community with two evenings of unique dance showcase performances at the Arts Midwest Conference in Milwaukee, WI.
These showcases aim to represent artists with a variety of fee ranges, technical needs and genres. Between 10-14 juried showcase positions will be available per evening. These positions will be decided by an adjudication panel in mid June. Each 15-minute performance should be designed to give presenters a sense of the artist’s work as an audience would experience it.
A program of Arts Midwest, the Arts Midwest Conference, is the preeminent booking and educational conference for the Midwest performing arts industry. Attended by nearly 1,000 performing artists, managers, and agents; performing arts presenters/venues; and arts administrators from throughout the United States and beyond, the four-day conference is filled with opportunities to network, learn, and experience live performing arts.

Direct Benefits For Participating Artists Includes:

  • Companies will receive 15 minute slots at a professional performance space with basic, technical capabilities. Attendance at the theater showcase in previous years has averaged 80-90, with booking agents, venue managers, presenters, and university program directors.
  • Support by a Production Manager and crew to coordinate all technical aspects of each company’s 15-minute showcase performance.
  • A tech rehearsal where 3-5 lighting looks and cues are rehearsed.
  • Invitation to a networking reception with refreshments following each evening’s showcase.
  • Inclusion in cross-promotional and other marketing support through targeted eblasts, direct cultivation, and presence on the marketplace exhibition hall floor at the Arts Midwest conference.
  • Press kit distributed at the Marketplace booth
  • Digital copy of a post event list of contact information for all attendees and visitors to the Audience Architects marketplace booth.
  • Companies will be included with photos and/or logos in all promotional materials including three eblasts to attendees, a postcard mailed to 1,000+ registrants, a 30 second spot on the promotional DVD, a conference program book ad, and other materials as they become available.

Key Dates:

Applications Open: May 6, 2016

Application Deadline: 11:59pm on June 3, 2016

Accepted Applicants Announced: Early July

When: Arts Midwest showcases are Tuesday, September 13 at 8:30pm, and Wednesday, September 14 at 9:30pm, after the Marketplace closes. Showcase time slots are 15 minutes in length including changeover between artists.

Arts Midwest Showcase Venue: TBD – Will be appropriate for various styles of dance, with production values that are suitable for a showcase setting. A tech rehearsal where 3-5 light cues will be set will be included the afternoon of the Showcase. Audience Architects will provide showcase attendees with a shuttle bus, if necessary, to travel to and from the Showcase performances back to the hotel in downtown Milwaukee.

Application Fee: None

Participation Fee: Between $600-800. Exact amount will be finalized in July.

Technical Support: Audience Architects will provide a Production Manager to oversee technical needs for the artists. All artists are expected to use the available lighting plot provided by the venue. As part of the application process, artists are required to submit the technical requirements for their 15-minute performance to be reviewed by the adjudication panel. Artists may be asked to adjust their technical needs prior to being offered a Showcase contract.

All showcasing companies are responsible for their own travel and hotel arrangements in Milwaukee, WI.


Applicants must:

  • Be based in the greater Chicagoland area.
  • Be a 501c3 organization or fiscally sponsored.
  • Be a member of Audience Architects whose account is in good standing.
  • Provide proof of general liability insurance. (Fiscally sponsored artists: confirm with your fiscal sponsor PRIOR to applying that they will provide you with coverage in a different state.)
  • Be prepared to showcase an existing work (premiers will not be accepted).
  • Adjust (if needed) all dance works to fit the 15-minute time restriction. Each 15- minute slot includes announcement, performance, and changeover time.
  • Be able to show a history of touring in the state of Illinois or beyond.
  • Contact information for all artists, representatives, and/or technical contacts
  • Provide Mission Statement
  • Provide a brief Artistic Statement of no more than 750 words
  • Provide a brief description of what you’re going to showcase, and if it is different from your work sample, explain how and why. The most competitive applications will contain a video sample of the work they intend to perform.
  • Describe any educational programs that you offer.
  • Indicate your availability for both September 13 & 14. The panel will look favorably upon applicants who are flexible with their schedule and are available on either night.


Artists are judged on two criteria: Artistic Merit and Demonstrated Readiness for Touring. These criteria are based upon the indicators listed below.

Artistic Merit:

  • Technique: Artist’s movement, musicianship, verbal and non-verbal communication displays knowledge and technical excellence in the chosen art form.
  • Interpretation: Artist demonstrates a level of artistry and expressiveness, and communicates the material to the audience.
  • Stage Energy/Presence: Artists command attention and engage the audience. 
  • Originality, if applicable: Artists stretch the boundaries of the art form in new and innovative ways. If an artist is presenting work that was originally created by another, this indicator will not be factored into the scoring.

Demonstrated Readiness for Touring: 

  • Web Presence: Current and complete information on the artist accessible via the Internet is mandatory.
  • Promotional materials: Materials should be of professional quality and include one press photo, an artist bio or EPK, and an up-to-date touring itinerary.
  • Tech Information: Clear, flexible technical rider including lighting requirements and stage plots for various size venues.
  • Video Quality: The artist should submit one high quality video. Videos should include a live clip of the artist in front of an audience and should convey to the panel what will be showcased.
  • Adaptability: The artists’ ability to perform in various venues such as concert hall/theatre, community center, college/university, club/coffee house, outdoor festival, school/classroom.
  • Educational Materials: In some cases, artists have an education our outreach component to their programming.


  • One high resolution press photo
  • Artist biography/EPK
  • An up-to-date touring itinerary
  • Standard technical rider
  • Proof of 501c3 status or fiscal sponsorship
  • One online video sample:
    • The work sample should be submitted as any of the files listed: mp4, mov, mpg, wmv, m4v.
    • The work sample should be of the actual showcase to be performed.
    • The work sample should contain a live performance. Promotional videos are strongly discouraged.
    • The work sample may be a five-minute segment or several shorter clipsedited together. Any video sample over 15 minutes in length will be not be considered by the panel.
    • Make sure to indicate where to begin the viewing sample.
  • All materials must be submitted by June 3, 2016


  • The work you present in a marketplace setting, such as the Arts Midwest Conference, should be your absolute strongest and most tour-able work. Please choose an excerpt that best represents your aesthetic and body of work.
  • Answer application questions completely but briefly. For a preview of application questions see above.
  • Your work sample should be professional quality, in good working order, and of recent work-preferably of the actual showcase to be performed. Promotional videos/montages do not provide the panel with enough information and will result in a lower judging score.
  • Do not send work samples that include guest artists or other performers who are not members of the group that will be performing in the showcase and touring the work.
  • Panelists want to see that your materials will be informative and useful to presenters who may be interested in booking you; high-quality materials and video reflect strongly on your professionalism and thoroughness.
  • Your application will be disqualified if incomplete on June 3.
  • A standard technical rider should include stage floor type, performance area, stage plot, lighting requirements, audio visual needs, backline (what you need and what you are prepared to bring), sound system and rags (special drapery or set pieces).
  • Proof read your application! An application without spelling or grammatical errors is indicative of your professionalism.


Please note that there will be a pre-screening process to eliminate applications that don’t meet set standards and guidelines. Assuming the application does meet standard guidelines, the artist’s application and supplemental materials will be reviewed by a Juried Showcase panel comprised of artist managers/agents, presenters and/or other professionals with extensive experience in presenting, touring and/or serving the professional dance community.

Application Questions

Complete the online application and submit your supplemental materials by the June 3, 2016 deadline. If you encounter difficulties completing the online application, contact Raphaelle Ziemba 312.846.6357 or raphaelle@audiencearchitects.com.